If your business technology is “Runnin’ with the Devil” as in Van Halen’s infamous song, then you are living “life like there’s no tomorrow.” By running out-of-date or unpatched software and hardware, you risk exposing your business to cyberattacks and more.

Why is this risky? When the patches are released, the cyber criminals dissect the update and reverse engineer it—identifying the security hole that was fixed. Then, they target machines that aren’t patched or older operating systems that are no longer patched. If you’re on an unsupported operating system, you’re an even easier target because there simply is no patch to protect you. Additionally, the patches give hints to other vulnerabilities that have not yet been discovered, in essence, providing a guidebook to discovering other unexploited vulnerabilities. Perhaps you’re replaying The Rocky Horror Picture Show and keeping your computer hardware or software in “The Time Warp.” While you want to squeeze all the bang from your hardware buck, by continuing to use outdated hardware and software can result in lower productivity, increased downtime and higher levels of user frustration, ultimately, draining your company’s bottom line. Or you may find that 3rd party hardware and software no longer support the older technology you’re using. So, when a new issue pops up, the vendor simply will not fix the issue because you’re using obsolete versions. Again, you risk critical business functions going down or no longer working properly. Of course, in industries with compliance requirements, continuing to use unsupported technology means that you are not compliant. Period.

So how do you escape “The Time Warp” and stop “Runnin’ with the Devil”? Get serious about life-cycle management and planning—making it a priority, not an afterthought. Proactively managing your technology life cycles will allow your business to derive more value from your investments.

Windows 7 users beware: Microsoft has announced the end-of-life of Windows 7 as of January 14, 2020.

The time to start planning is now. If your hardware is relatively new, 3 years old or younger, you may wish to consider upgrading to Windows 10. However, if it’s older than 3 years old, we recommend you carefully evaluate upgrading versus replacing your hardware or perhaps consider some type of desktop-in-the-cloud solution. Our recommendations are similar for your Windows 2008 server technology.

Don’t Risk Your Business Over Old Software and Hardware

The first step is to create an inventory of your hardware and software. Then identify the purchase dates and details of your technology. Now, you can assess your vulnerabilities and start planning to reduce your exposure and ensure your business is protected.

Security risks, compliance issues, and software/hardware support are all reasons for technology upgrades.  Learn more about the risks of aging computer technology here.

First published in our October 2018 IT Radix Resource newsletter